South Africa

SARU now control Test purse strings

Thu, 06 Dec 2012 14:56
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New quadrangular double-header tournament in 2013
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The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Thursday announced that the body will take over the running of all Springbok Test matches from next year, with minor venues set to host more internationals.

For the first time in Springbok history, Test matches will be solely hosted by the mother body.

The ground-breaking decision, which is set to overhaul the way that Test matches are run in South Africa, was taken by the Executive Council (Exco) after consulting the 14 member provinces.

“SARU was the only major union in world rugby that didn’t properly own its own Test matches,” explained CEO Jurie Roux. “The decision by the Exco now gives ownership to SARU.

“The key benefits will be in allowing us to plough a share of the profits back into all the provincial unions and, that by controlling the ticket office and all commercial activity in the stadium, we will be able to provide an experience for our stakeholders on a par with what we experience when playing overseas.”

Roux explained that the existing model had seen SARU effectively ‘sell’ Springbok Test matches to the major provinces.

The Test-hosting unions paid a rights fee (the amount of which was dependent on the stature of the opponent) and then set ticket prices and kept all receipts as well as commercialising aspects of the match as they saw fit.

“This is a major change in how rugby is run and will present challenges,” said Roux. “But the major effect is that it has placed Springbok Tests in the ownership of the mother body, for the benefit of all rugby’s stakeholders."

The Exco also took the unique step of announcing the Test schedule for the next three seasons – featuring Tests in Nelspruit for the first time.

The Springboks will face their 2015 World Cup Pool B opponents, Scotland and Samoa - as well as Italy - in an innovative new quadrangular tournament featuring double-header Test matches in 2013.

The tournament – which will be played on a log basis over two rounds to determine finalists – will open at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on June 8.

“We are taking the Springboks to a new venue in 2013 and have an exciting new competition format for the June Tests – by coincidence against two of our Rugby World Cup opponents of 2015.

“We have also been able to map out a home fixture schedule for the next three years – something the provinces had also wanted.”

SARU, however, cautioned that all matches were subject to conclusion of commercial terms with planned hosting venues.

South Africa 2013/2015 home fixtures:

2013 fixtures:

Incoming Tour:
Saturday, June 8 (Mbombela Stadium): Scotland v Samoa; Springboks v Italy
Saturday, June 15 (Mr Price Kings Park): Samoa v Italy; Springboks v Scotland
Saturday, June 22 (Loftus Versfeld): Team 3 v Team 4 ; Team 1 v Team 2

Rugby Championship:
Saturday, August 17 (Free State Stadium): Springboks v Argentina
Saturday, September 28 (Newlands): Springboks v Australia
Saturday, October 5 (Coca-Cola Park): Springboks v New Zealand

2014 fixtures (dates to be confirmed):

Incoming Tour:
Springboks v Wales (Johannesburg)
Springboks v Wales (Nelspruit)
Springboks v Scotland (Port Elizabeth)

Rugby Championship:
Springboks v Argentina (Pretoria)
Springboks v Australia (Cape Town)
Springboks v New Zealand (Johannesburg)

2015 fixtures (no Incoming Tour due to World Cup):

Rugby Championship:
Springboks v Argentina (Cape Town)
Springboks v Australia (Durban)
Springboks v New Zealand (Johannesburg)

*All fixtures subject to the agreement of commercial terms with planned hosting venues.

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